As a runner and someone who is working hard on her health, I know how tough it is to maintain an active lifestyle when you work behind a desk all day. It’s taken me a few years to come up with a routine that keeps me energized and I’d love to share with you some of my healthy tips for office workers.
Growing up, I could not wait to have a real job in an office.
I used to fantasize about working a 9 to 5 job where I would get to dress up every day and have my own office with pictures of my family adorning my desk. To be honest, I really just wanted a job where I got to dress up and look pretty.
I won’t lie – I was a bit of a narcissist as a teenager.
Fast forward 10 years and I have the standard 9 to 5 job where my office is more of a cube.
Two pictures sit on my desk and I dread squeezing into my spanks and plastering my face with make up everyday to sit in a small space where no one even sees me.
The dream of my youth has more so become my nightmare.
Not necessarily because of the spanks and the cubicle, but because of the lifestyle it had forced me into.
When daydreaming about working in an office where smart and important things happened, I overlooked one big part of it: the fact that I’d be sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.
Growing up, I was an active kid. I played 3 sports in high school and 2 in college. I ran everyday, or every other day. I walked every where I went and tried to work out as much as possible to stay in shape for sports.
As an adult, I run half marathons to keep myself active and motivated. But I can honestly say, despite running I can still feel the 8 hours a day being chained to a desk taking a toll on my health.
The worst part is, I wasn’t just sitting at work.
I was sitting during my hour commute each way.
I was sitting watching TV every night.
I was sitting getting ready for work.
I was sitting so much!
I became flabby in places I never was before. My stomach had gone from a firm respectable chub to more of a fupa. My already flat tush was now flat in a way I had never imagined.
I knew something had to change.
My healthy tips for office workers
I started taking strides to combat what this sedentary lifestyle was doing to my once beautiful body. Below are the healthy changes I began to make in my daily life.
Take a walk on the hour
The first thing I did was take a walk every hour.
Whether it was just to get a drink, go to the bathroom, or do a lap up and down the stairs. I was/am moving every hour.
This helps keep me from sitting too long, but also helps in so many other ways.
I’m drinking way more water throughout the day because I’m going to get a drink more often and the walk also helps me reset when I start to get too stressed out.
Use your lunch as a time to get in a workout
If it’s hard to move outside of work, use your lunch as a time to get some extra steps in.
I set aside 15 minutes to eat my lunch and use the rest of my time to do a few laps around the parking lot. This helps me reach my daily step goal and get some fresh air.
Being in an office all day, we aren’t exposed enough to fresh air or sunshine. Getting outside for lunch is a great way to also reap the benefits of nature.
Keep sneakers and socks in your office
With all of this extra walking you’re going to want to slip into something more comfortable.
I keep sneakers at my desk and put them on every morning when I get to work. It makes me feel a little like Mr. Rodgers, but the change really encourages me to take advantage of walking since I’m more comfortable. You can change back before meetings.
Also, if you’re like me and have sweaty feet, use teabags in your shoes and keep a small bottle of air freshener in your desk. You don’t want your office mates hating on your positive changes because there are smelly shoes in the office.
Keep back-ups in your office
Oh! Which reminds me- I’m also a sweaty person in general so I keep deodorant, perfume, hairspray, dry shampoo and extra make-up in my desk.
This helps rid me of the excuse of not wanting to smell or look bad if I get too overheated.
Get a standing desk
This is a tricky one and can cost a pretty penny, but I think our health is definitely worth it!
Standing desks are amazing. I have had one for about a year now and can honestly say it has helped me so much.
I feel more energized when standing rather than sitting. I am more motivated to work and walk around.
It gives me the versatility to sit or stand depending on my endurance. This has been my favorite change that I have made so far.
Get a fitness tracker
I honestly had no idea how little I was walking every day until I put a fitness tracker on my wrist.
On the days that I wasn’t running I was only getting about 5,000 steps a day. That fact blew my mind.
Even when I started walking each hour I was not hitting 10,000 steps a day.
Wearing a tracker made me so much more aware of my movement, or lack thereof. It has really helped motivate me to move more and find extra ways to get stepping.
You don’t have to buy a top of the line Fitbit or Garmin. I started with just a pedometer hooked to my shoe. Now I have a generic tracker I wear on my wrist.
I just like knowing how many steps I’m getting a day.
Search out more little ways to stay active throughout the day
Having my dream office job doesn’t mean I have to suffer with the lifestyle that comes with it.
By following these changes I’ve been able to combat the sitting disease and the weight gain that comes with lack of movement.
I realize I didn’t talk about how to battle the junk food in the break room. I guess I’ll have to save that for another post.
Check out our Pinterest board for office health: